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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
since, if she wished, she could have said that there was peace in the world;1 or, perhaps. since a war was established [by her] she speaks2 from conjecture.3 and the argument. 'What motive could she have for telling a lie'4 cannot come and impair an established principle? — Come and hear: [If a woman states]. 'They5 set our house on fire',6 or 'They filled the cave wherein we sheltered7 with smoke, and he8 died while I escaped'. she is not believed!9 There it is different since she can be told,10 'As a miracle happened to you. so may a miracle have happened to him8 also'.11
Come and hear: [If a woman states]. 'ldolaters fell upon us', or, 'robbers fell upon us,12 and he8 died while I escaped'. she is believed!13 — There14 [her statement is believed] in accordance with the view of R. Idi. For R. Idi stated: A woman [carries] her weapons about her.15
There was once a man whose bridal chamber caught fire at the close of his wedding feast, and his wife cried, 'Look at my husband, look at my husband!' When they came near they saw a charred body16 that was prostrate [on the ground] and the hand [of a man]17 lying [by it]. R. Hiyya b. Abin intended to give his decision [that the law in this case] is the same as [that where a woman stated]. 'They set our house on fire', or 'they filled the cave wherein we sheltered with smoke'. Raba, however, said: Are [the two cases at all] similar? There, she did not say. 'Look at my husband, look at my husband'!18 while19 here [those present actually saw] the charred body that was prostrate [on the ground] and the hand that was lying by it. And R. Hiyya b. Abin?20 — As to the charred body16 that was prostrate [on the ground]. it may be suggested that a stranger21 came to the rescue of [the burning man] and was himself burned,22 while the hand which was lying [nearby, might be that of the bridegroom who] having been caught by the fire was mutilated;23 and24 in order [to hide his] shame he may have left the place and fled into the wide world.
A question was raised: What is the law in respect of one witness25 In time of war?26 Is the reason why one witness is [elsewhere]27 believed because no one would tell a lie which is likely to be exposed28 and, consequently. here also [the witness] would not tell a lie;29 or is it possible that the reason why one witness [is believed]27 is because [the woman] herself makes careful enquiries and [only then] marries again. here. therefore.30 [he would not be believed since a woman]31 does not make sufficient enquiries before she marries again?
Rami b. Hama replied. Come and hear: R. Akiba stated: When I went down to Nehardea to intercalate the year. I met Nehemiah of Beth Deli who said to me, 'I heard that in the Land of Israel32 no one with the exception of R. Judah b. Baba permits a [married] woman to marry again on the evidence of one witness'. 'That is so', I told him' 'Tell them', he said to me. 'in my name: You know that this country is infested33 with raiders; I have this tradition from R. Gamaliel the Elder: That a [married] woman may be allowed to marry again on the evidence of one witness'.34 Now, what was meant by 'This country is infested with raiders'? Obviously that35 'although this country is in a state of confusion.36 I have this tradition: That a [married woman] may be allowed to marry again on the evidence of one witness'! Thus it is evident that one witness is believed.37 Said Raba: If so,38 why should 'this country39 be different?40 He should [have said]. 'Wherever raiders exist'!-Rather, said Raba, it is this that was meant: 'You know that this country is infested41 with raiders and it is impossible for me to leave my family and to come before the Rabbis; I have this tradition from R. Gamaliel: That a [married] woman may be allowed to marry again on the evidence of one witness
Come and hear: Two learned men42 once travelled with Abba Jose b. Simai on board a ship, which sank. And on the evidence of women, Rabbi43 allowed their wives to marry again. [Now, evidence of death by] water is, surely, like [that of death in] war, and women, even a hundred of them, are legally equal to one witness,44 and yet it was stated [that Rabbi] 'Allowed … to marry'!45 — And do you understand this?46 Those47 were waters without [a visible] end,48 and [when a man is drowned in] waters without [a visible] end his wife is forbidden [to marry again]!49 How, then, is this to be understood? [Obviously] that they50 stated, '[The drowned men] were cast up in our presence
A man once deposited some sesame with another, [and when in due course] he asked him, 'Return to me my sesame, the other replied. 'You have already taken it'. 'But, surely'. [the depositor remonstrated, 'the quantity] was such and such and it is [in fact still] lying [intact] in your jar'.4 'Yours', the other replied. 'you have taken back and this is different'. R. Hisda at first intended to give his decision [that the law in this case is] the same as that of the two learned men,5 where we do not assume that those have gone elsewhere and these are others.6 Raba, however, said to him: Are [the two cases] alike? There, the identification marks were given; but here, what identification marks can sesame have! And in regard to [the depositor's] statement [that their quantity] was such and such, it might be said that the similarity of quantities is a mere coincidence.
Said Mar Kashisha b. R. Hisda to R. Ashi: Do we ever [in such circumstances]7 take into consideration the possibility that [the contents of a vessel] may have been removed?8 Surely we learned: If a man found a vessel on which was inscribed a Kof it is korban;9 if a Mem, it is ma'aser;10 if a Daleth it is demu'a;11 if a Teth, it is Tebel;12 and if a Taw, It is terumah;13 for in the period of danger14 they used to write a Taw for terumah!15 — Said Rabina to R. Ashi: Do we not [in such circumstances]16 heed the possibility that [the contents of a vessel] may have been removed? Read, then, the final clause: R. Jose said, Even if a man found a jar on which 'terumah' was inscribed [the contents] are nevertheless regarded as unconsecrated, for it is assumed17 that though it was in the previous year full of terumah it has subsequently been emptied!18 But the fact is, all agree that the possibility of [the contents] having been removed must be taken into consideration. Here, however, they differ only on the following principle: One Master is of the opinion that had the owner removed [the contents from the jar] he would undoubtedly have wiped [the mark] off, while the other [maintains that] it might be assumed that he may have forgotten [to remove the mark] or he may also intentionally have left it as a safeguard.19
Resh Galutha Isaac,20 a son of R. Bebai's sister, once went from Cordova to Spain21 and died there. A message was sent from there [in the following terms]. 'Resh Galutha Isaac, a son of R. Bebai's sister, went from Cordova to Spain and died there. [The question thus arose] whether [the possibility that there might have been] two [men of the name of] Isaac is to be taken into consideration22 or not? — Abaye said: It is to be taken into consideration:22 but Raba said: It is not to be taken into consideration.23
Said Abaye: How24 do I arrive at my assertion? — Because in25 a letter of divorce that was once found in Nehardea it was written, 'Near the town of Kolonia,26 I, David son of Nehilais,27 a Nehardean, released and divorced my wife So-and-so', and when Samuel's father sent it to R. Judah Nesiah28 the latter replied: 'Let all Nehardea be searched'.29 Raba, however, said: If that were so30 he31 should [have ordered] the whole world to be searched!32 The truth is that it was only out of respect for Samuel's father33 that he sent that message.
Raba said: How34 do I arrive at my assertion? Because in two notes of indebtedness that were once produced in court at Mahuza [the names of the parties] were written as Habi son of Nanai and Nanai son of Habi. and Rabbah35 b. Abbuha ordered the collection of the debts on these bills. But, surely, there are many [men bearing the names of] Habi son of Nanai and Nanai son of Habi at Mahuza!36 And Abaye?37
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